Adam or Andy
So now the question comes up, who do I vote for in the primary for Governor? Well, it won't be a Democrat. That party has totally screwed up this state, and I'd be inclined to vote for the Communist candidate in the general election over any of the state's Democratic contenders.
Then when I started looking at the GOP candidates I noticed there are really only two who aren't political insiders who've been hanging around Springfield so long they forget there is anywhere else in the state.
So my choice has come down to Adam Andrzejewski or Andy McKenna. Both are business people, not career politicians, which is a point for each. The fact my middle name is Andrew has nothing to do with those two being the finalists for my vote.
Both have decent plans for curbing state spending, auditing where our money currently goes, and trying not to raise taxes to fix our budget mess.
Both want more accountability from Springfield, more transparency on where our money is going. Andrzejewski wins that fight with his "Every Dime Online, In Real Time" pledge, though I wonder if that will be feasible in a reasonable amount of time.
McKenna's idea to start with the recent Auditor General report for consolidation of programs, and using that report to weed out the unknown programs; those that the head of the agencies couldn't identify; sound like a faster way to getting some of the budget mess solved than a forensic audit. Though that audit is probably necessary, it won't do much to take care of the $10 billion deficit we are currently facing.
Another plus for both is that neither seems to be fixated on Chicago first, then the rest of the state, a major problem with the other party. Yes, Chicago is the first city of the state, but the fact is letting the Rockford's and Peoria of Illinois rot while the legislature debates Chicago issues isn't the way to get the whole state moving.
Taxes are going to be a tough issue. All of the Democrats claim that the only solution to our budget woes is a tax increase. All the Republicans claim it can be fixed without them. I'm not sure that is true, but I think that it should be the last resort. Pat Quinn's idea of a 50% increase is crazy, if the budget is that badly messed up they need to figure out a way to get closer to their means, as opposed to raising taxes that high.
Property taxes are something else that has to be addressed. Unfortunately, while all the candidates claim they will do something about them, the real solution to those problems is going to be local. Excessive numbers of local taxing bodies makes it almost impossible to navigate a tax bill, or figure out how to reduce it. Local government consolidation is probably the most logical choice, starting with schools, park districts and the elimination of townships as taxing bodies.
One thing they could do in Springfield that would help both at the state and local levels would be to change the formula for how State guaranteed pensions are calculated. No where other than government can you sell back all your accrued vacation and sick days and have that counted as salary for determining a pension. Most companies can't afford to allow those days to be carried over more than a year or two because of tax implications.
Secondly, change the retirement ages for teachers and public employees (except firefighters and cops) to 65. If they want to retire after 30 years at 55 and collect a pension, fashion it like Social Security, and pay 60% at that age, 80% at age 60, and 100% of the eligible amount at 65.
Sorry for drifting, back to who will I vote for? Probably Andy McKenna, as of today. I think of the two his life experience has better prepared him to be the Governor, I also think Matt Murphy as Lt. Governor is a good choice. He has enough experience in Springfield to be helpful, but no so much that he's forgotten the real world.
Adam, I think is still a bit too young, and as the guy in DC is proving, novices aren't the best choices in tough times. However, if he does lose the primary I hope he stays involved in Illinois politics and keeps shining the light of openness on Springfield.